For me home is within walking distance of the Capitol. For my colleagues it is generally not. Right now some are trying to extend leases, moving into hotels or contemplating sharing digs for what is a few days but could become a few weeks when you count the personalities involved in Idaho lawmaking.
For now the Senate's Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee members have stuck together on more mild cuts to state employee pay. Not a wholly moderate body, there seems to be a frustration on the Senate's part with House leadership for forcing votes from Republican members. The House has buckled down in its Republican caucus to make larger cuts state employee pay and to make the deepest possible cuts to Education.
With the House split on transportation tax increases and Democrats holding a block of 18 votes that the Governor has refused to negotiate with, it is yet to be seen how the Senate will vote on tax increases for roads. Our Senate Caucus is unified even more than the House's Democratic caucus on this issue. If the vote is going to be close here as well I'm a bit surprised the Governor hasn't been chatting with us much about what he wants out of this session. There are a few things he wants, like lesser cuts to state employee pay which we might agree on. In years past he has been open to local option authority and I'd hope he might consider that and public transportation in particular as a worthy piece of any state wide transportation plan.
But he hasn't really called. So we'll keep at this staring at a board full of appropriations bills someone is worried about sending him. Until things start moving no one is going to budge. Until the first bill is vetoed we won't know how willing anyone is to take the heat of making this session go longer. Every day is probably one state employees' pay, one lay-off you might say.
We won't win a waiting game, only maybe a game of public chicken.